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NZ - Before I get in too deep, itinerary help appreciated!

NZ - Before I get in too deep, itinerary help appreciated!

Oct 31st, 2018, 01:38 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 17,463
The brochure says it's partly tar-sealed. I think the only place I ran into problems was trying to go out to the Waipapa Point lighthouse (sand on the road.). Slope Point was worthwhile.

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Oct 31st, 2018, 04:10 PM
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According to my NZ road atlas Invercargill to just before Waikawa is sealed (this route takes you through Tokanui). I believe the turn off to Waikawa and on to Curio Bay is unsealed, but it's a short distance.

Te Anau to Invercargill is also sealed.

There are unsealed roads in the area, but if memory serves, most are easy to access in good conditions, and none are rental car violations that I'm aware of.

You'll see plenty on the main sealed route (with a few optional unsealed detours), which is called the Southern Scenic Route for a reason.

These maps might help:

NZ - Before I get in too deep, itinerary help appreciated!-map-southern-scenic-route_1_orig.jpg

Official website for the Catlins, New Zealand ? Tourism and Community Information

Last edited by Melnq8; Oct 31st, 2018 at 04:14 PM.
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Oct 31st, 2018, 04:17 PM
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Nov 1st, 2018, 04:35 PM
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Because of growing tourism, over the last year and half there have been great improvements in the roads around Curio Bay/Southern Catlins. The road from Tokanui to Curio Bay via Waikawa is paved (or "tar-sealed").

I believe the only gravel sections left in this area are those between Tokanui and Haldane (not a major route that you'd be driving on) and a portion of the road between Haldane and Curio Bay, which is part of the "alternative route" between Otara and Curio Bay, This alternative route offers access to side roads to Slope Point and Waipapa Point (lighthouse). This alternative route used to be entirely gravel and rough (bumpy), with warning signs reminding of the high accident rate. They were working the Haldane-Curio Bay stretch over winter but couldn't finish because of bad weather. This describes a bit of the work being done on the "alternative route".

If you have any more questions about current conditions at Curio Bay, you can contact the Curio Bay Information Centre (Tuma Toka Curio Scape): This new visitor centre opened in December 2017.
Tumu Toka Curio Scape - Stay, eat and explore The Catlins, NZ
Contact Us - Tumu Toka Curio Scape
Video about it:

Last edited by Diamantina; Nov 1st, 2018 at 04:37 PM.
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Nov 2nd, 2018, 05:39 PM
Original Poster
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Thanks for the info and the great maps. I must have read about the gravel on an old outdated post somewhere.
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Nov 3rd, 2018, 06:54 AM
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hi blackmoms - i can't really give you any advice on this as we never ventured as far as the Caitlins.

But if you are gravel road averse, don't even think about driving in Iceland.
annhig is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2018, 12:37 PM
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Looking at the map, I realised I have been to the Catlins!!! I was about 11 years old I think. We had friends that lived in Waikawa, and we spent a few days staying with them, many moons ago.
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Nov 3rd, 2018, 03:54 PM
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nelsonian! Get busy!
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Nov 3rd, 2018, 04:36 PM
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Waikawa is only a 9 minute drive from Curio Bay's Petrified Forest and its Hoiho colony. We were last in the Catlins 2.5 years ago, driving down from Queenstown. We usually stay at Curio Bay Salthouse on Porpoise Bay, which is next to Curio Bay, but it's popular, so we could ony stay one night there and had to spend our first, preceding, night at nearby Waikava Harbour View. If you "Google Maps" Waikava Harbour View, 14 Larne St, Waikawa, then put the little yellow figure on the red spot indicating Waikava Harbour View, you can see what the road looks like.
Porpoise Bay is long gorgeous beach with fine waves for surfing and a small part-time population of Hectors Dolphins. Waikawa is on the estuary at the northern end of Porpoise Bay. Curio Bay is just a short walk from the southern end of Porpoise Bay..

Last edited by Diamantina; Nov 3rd, 2018 at 04:39 PM.
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Dec 6th, 2018, 02:29 PM
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Blackmons, here's an update on road conditions in the Catlins (sealing on the "alternative route" is complete):
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